Note: All CIN courses fulfill the Literature requirement for general education. They also count as Arts and Sciences electives and unrestricted electives.
Though it's barely a century old, the medium of cinema has quickly become one of the most popular and influential of all the arts, and has played a major role in shaping modern civilization. Because it shares many of the main qualities of novels (it tells stories); of painting (it involves framed images); of theater (actions are presented before an audience); and even of dreams (it gives us fantasies while we relax in the dark), it is also perhaps the richest of all art forms. Surveys the first 100 years of movie making with emphasis on four related issues: the characteristics of the cinema medium; cinema history; authorship in literature and film; and implications of cinema as a cultural institution. Films may include foreign and American films of both the silent and the sound eras.
Note: Formerly LIT 370
Cinema is often considered the most significant art form of the 20th century. Because of its importance and complexity, there are many ways of approaching films. They may be seen as escapist fantasies with a powerful influence on people's lives; as expressions of the attitudes of a culture; as works of art shaped by a great director; or as commercial and industrial products. Focuses on one or another of this wide range of subjects. In recent years, topics for CIN 370 have included: The Films of Alfred Hitchcock; Feminism and Film; Horror Movies; European Art Cinema; and Romantic Comedy. Allows repetition for credit.
This course will focus on the work of a single director or a group of related directors, investigating their characteristic themes and concerns, and their special ways of using the medium of cinema to tell a story. One recent version of this course was devoted entirely to Hitchcock; a second examined four great directors: Fellini, Bergman, Truffaut, and Altman. Other directors to whom the course might be devoted include: Wilder, Lang, and Lubitsch; Scorsese, Ford & Hawks; and Orson Welles.
This course, focusing on a single genre, will be concerned to identify the characteristic themes and techniques of that genre, to explore the meaning of different genres and the function that these genres play in organizing our social or psychic lives. The specific genre studied will very from year to year and will include such significant genres as mysteries, westerns, musicals, Film Noir, comedy and romantic comedy and horror.
Emphasis will be on the documentary tradition, although other forms of non-fiction films will be considered as well. The entire range of reality-based films will provide the basis for this course.
As a type of cinema that does not begin with photographing real objects, animation offers filmmakers special opportunities and raises special sorts of questions. This course will emphasize the comic cartoon tradition developed by Warner Brothers and Disney, but will also examine animated films for adult audiences produced in Europe and Canada.
This course will focus on the major contributions that women have made to cinema, as characters in the stories being told, as actresses playing the parts, as filmmakers directing and producing films, and as critics who have, in the past thirty years, substantially reshaped the way we think about, talk about, and even make films. The specific emphasis will vary from semester to semester, but each version of this course will pay special attention to the issue of gender in cinema. D
This course will focus on one of the wide variety of important national cinemas or film movements that have played a major role in the development of film as a virtually universal artistic language. Topics to which the course might be devoted include German Expressionism; Soviet Cinema and Montage Theory; Post war Italian Cinema, Rosellini through Bertolucci and beyond; The French New Wave; Japanese Cinema; and Bollywood and the development of film in India. I
This course focuses on the historical forms of Hollywood genres from the classical period of the studio system in the 1930s to the present. Class readings consider the different factors that define genres in particular cases, such as the production standards that shaped the Western, the thematic and stylistic features that characterize film noir, and the reception patterns that exemplify the cult film. The course material also examines the specific ways that different genres create audience expectations and promote particular interpretive strategies. In general, the class will look at two examples of each genre, a film from the studio period and a contemporary example. Class discussions will ask what features characterize the earlier film, and what changes (if any) are evident in the contemporary instance. D
This course examines how masculinity functions in cinematic narratives
centered on Hollywood's "leading men." Students identify and critique notions
about what makes a male protagonist heroic or even more simply what makes
him a functional citizen. This critique necessarily leads to a larger discussion
about the evolving concepts of American culture, and how and why mainstream
film champions the popular cultural impulse of rebellion. The course emphasizes
the theoretical approaches of formalism (close reading) and deconstruction to
relate a gendered reading of each character to these larger social concerns. Films
examined may include High Noon, Strangers on a Train, Butch Cassidy and the
Sundance Kid, Midnight Cowboy, The Shining, American Beauty, and Collateral. D
From the preternatural strength of Buffy Summers to the sultry confidence of Jackie
Brown, heroic women characters often have a profound and lasting impact on the cultural
imagination. But when is 'Girl Power' really challenging staid notions about gender
roles, and when does it simply serve as a fantasy reinscription of old premises about
women as servants, caregivers, or sex objects? This course applies these critical concerns
to a number of heroic, superheroic, and antiheroic women characters in television and cinema. D
This course examines the image of the city in American film. Close attention is paid to issues of race and sexual orientation amid the multiple, sometimes conflicting portrayals of urban centers as places of refuge and violence, liberalism and intolerance, prosperity and poverty. While setting provides the conceptual theme of the course, students are invited to analyze these films from the widest possible array of perspectives, grounded in the critical approaches relevant to the discipline of cinema studies and interpretation of narrative meanings.